NOTES: See Part One, Please enjoy. :)
ARCHIVE: Go ahead. Please do, if ye can.
DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, except for Levi McClane and Dante the dog.
SUMMARY: The White House prepares to send a comprehensive, best of the best
gun control package to the hill, and they're going to do everything they can
to make sure it passes.

The West Wing felt reasonably silent. It had not been as such for
several days, and things felt like they could finally calm down. The vote was
approaching. There was anticipation on how it would all finally come down.
Leo speculated that there was no way to be sure until the voting night. No
one else wanted to make a guess. Even Levi was tight-lipped, which was rare
for her.
Ainsley Hayes sighed and went back to typing on her laptop. It was
still hot as hell in the office, but at least she wasn't upstairs with the
people who were resting nervously in their offices. Voting night wasn't even
a week away and people were already sweating over it.
"I don't dislike you." A soft voice interrupted her work. Ainsley
didn't have to look up in order to respond.
"You'll pardon me if I do not believe that right off." She replied as
she continued typing. Levi chuckled.
"I'm here to apologize. You want to give me a chance to do that, or am
I unforgivable?" She asked. Ainsley paused and then looked at the other
"Come on in. Have a seat if you'd like." She said. Levi moved slowly
into the room, Dante trotting around right behind her.
"I still say you should file a complaint and get a better office."
Levi said softly.
"Is that your apology?" Ainsley retorted.
"I think the heat is hitting your people skills." Levi replied.
"No, I think you are." Came the response. Levi sighed and looked at
her hands. This was going to be harder then she thought.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make light of your beliefs or opinions,
and I should have been much more open-minded. Dealing with other people's
stances has never been my strong point, which feeds into my excessive need to
win." She said suddenly. "I don't dislike you. I think you're an intelligent,
strong, interesting talented person, and I think you're also quite brave.
There are not that many people who would take a job with people that believe
many things differently, but you walked in here and said yes because you
wanted to serve your country."
"We're all here to serve our country." Ainsley said quietly.
"That's right." Levi replied. "We all are."
"Which means so are you."
"In some twisted way, yes, so am I."
"It's okay. You're not unforgivable." Ainsley said with a weak smile.
Levi smiled at her and nodded.
"Some people have told me otherwise, so I wasn't sure." She replied.
"I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, Miss Hayes. Don't let my
bull-headedness make you think that I'm someone I'm not."
"Who might that be?" Ainsley asked. Levi paused.
"Hell, I'm not even sure." She replied weakly before getting to her
feet. "You might want to get started on that complaint."
"No." Ainsley said with a weak smile. "This is my office." Levi
chuckled and nodded.
"Well, it's very nice then." She replied. "I've got to go. My dog is.
. ." She paused to look at Dante who was rifling through Ainsley's trash
basket. "Hungry, as you might be able to tell."
"Yeah, that much is obvious." Ainsley said weakly.
"I'm sorry. I'll clean that up." Levi said as she moved towards Dante.
"No, no. I'll get it. There's nothing dirty in there anyway. I think
you should just take him home and feed him." Ainsley said with a weak smile.
Levi nodded and collected her pup before leaving the room. Ainsley cleaned up
the mess and suddenly found a pair of hands helping her.
"What happened?" Sam asked. Ainsley blushed slightly and shook her
hands in the air before setting the can upright.
"Levi's dog was a little hungry." She replied.
"Levi was in here?" Sam asked as they both rose to their full height
once more.
"Yeah, she came down her to apologize. I was never really that mad at
her though. I just figured it was a difference of opinion." Ainsley replied
shakily. The truth was that she was never so much as mad, but she was
slightly hurt and a little angered by Levi's explosion.
"So what'd you say? Are things okay now?" Sam asked.
"I think they are. I mean, I think that she and I have a different
understanding of each other now, and that makes us okay." Ainsley replied.
Sam smiled and nodded. There was a silent pause. "Was there something I could
do for you, Sam?" She asked curiously.
"No. Yes. Well, no . . I mean." Sam paused. "I don't know. I just came
down to, you know, talk or check on you, or whatever."
"I don't need checking on." Ainsley said with a weak smile.
"Okay. Well, then. You, uh, hungry? I was gonna head out for some
dinner before coming back to do some last-minute work on the . . stuff, you
know. You hungry?" Sam asked.
"You already asked me that." Ainsley pointed out.
"I'm asking again." Sam retorted.
"Sure." She said after a pause. "Let's go." Sam smiled and nodded. She
grabbed her coat and they headed out the door.

"Life is funny, isn't it?" Levi asked as she leaned back against Leo's
couch. Leo shrugged as he sat down in the armchair opposite her.
"Funny isn't always the word that I'd choose for it, but why not?" He
replied, glancing at Toby and Josh who were also making themselves
"Well, not funny ha-ha, but just funny as in odd." Levi replied.
"I can agree with that." Josh said. "I mean, everything works out in
such strange ways, but they always manage to work out at least."
"I suppose that's true." Toby added. "Things that don't work out, they
still end. They still work out in some way, just not always in the way we
want them too."
"So we just have to roll with the punches, go with the flow and count
our winnings when we get them, right?" Levi said with a grin.
"Look who's talking." Leo retorted.
"Hey, now. Be nice." Levi replied with a smirk.
"Have you ever known me to be?" Leo replied
"Trick question alert." Levi retorted.
"Atta girl." Leo replied before sipping his water. Levi chuckled as
she sipped her own drink.
"So what do you guys have to tell me today?" Leo asked.
"We got McManus and Gereheart. I doubt Douglas is gonna switch over,
but Hanover might." Josh reported.
"The vote is about even, Leo. We're down to the wire. The vote is in
two days and we're down to the wire." Toby said in his soft, somewhat
over-dramatic tone of voice. Leo nodded.
"Are we gonna know how this is gonna end up before we get to voting
night?" He asked. Levi shook her head and the other two shrugged.
"I seriously doubt it. In the long run, it's about 50-50 either way.
If it gets vetoed, then you can resoup it and send it out for another shot in
a year or two." She replied. "Some of these guys are dealing with
constituencies, others are dealing with higher powers, and still more are
dealing with bullies from within their own parties. There's no way to know
until voting night."
"For the most part, I agree." Toby added.
"For the most part?" Leo repeated.
"Nothing's impossible." Toby said with a dry smirk. "Just highly
improbable. I believe that it's highly improbable we're going to know the
final vote breakdown until the last senator stands up and then sits back
down." The other people in the room smiled weakly and chuckled.
"So, Levi, we're having a shindig voting night down in the mural room.
Figure you've been working as hard as anyone on this. Wanna come along?" Josh
asked with a smirk. Levi paused.
"It seems highly probable." She replied before they all broke out into
laughter, Toby chuckling the hardest.


~ D.C.

Bias - 10




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